That document shows the amount that each parcel of downtown property will be assessed to help fund the endeavor. The assessments will produce about two hundred and seventy thousand dollars toward the total cost of the project. It was pointed out that the assessments were based as a percentage of their assessed value. If the total cost of the project exceeds the engineer’s estimate the assessments will not go up. But if the total cost is lower than the estimate, the assessments will go down.
Phil Warnke, operator of the Ben Franklin store thanked the council for working toward downtown improvements, but voiced his concerns about the economic impact the assessments will have on property owners. As an example, he said the property his stores occupy will be assessed seventeen thousand dollars. Warnke said he felt that since the property owners installed the sidewalks, and the city will tear them up, the city should pay for their replacement. And he said he fears that some stores would be put out of business by the cost. Council member Duane Seehusen told Warnke that when the city worked on the street in front of his home they tore out the sidewalk, and he was assessed the replacement cost. Dave Popkes said there have been concerns about the fact that some businesses have just installed new sidewalks to comply with the city code. Now these sidewalks will be torn out and the businesses will have to pay again. Popkes said he was one of those businesses, but he feels this is ‘just a part of being downtown’.
The Council set April 17th as the date for a public hearing on the assessments. At the suggestion of council member Geels, the city will consider holding an open public meeting prior to the public hearing. The engineer said he would be happy to attend that meeting to answer questions. There would be ample news announcements to make the public aware of when they can attend this meeting as well as the public hearing. Also, all affected property owners will be sent an official notice of the time and place of the hearing. It was emphasized by City officials that nothing about the project is set in stone, and no construction details have been approved at this time.